Saturday, 21 April 2012

Killing with Kindness

[Drafted April 20, 2011]

Sometime in Oct 2006, a man gave his last few dollars to his children and told them to buy themselves some lunch.

Then he walked to the Chinese Garden MRT station, waited for the train, and threw himself on the tracks as the train was pulling in.

He died.

The media reported the story and they went for the human interest story.

They reported his hard luck story - unemployed. Unemployable. Children with barely enough to eat. Utilities in arrears. Wife trying to make ends meet.

The public were moved by his plight, and the media built upon the human interest story, and the donations to the family poured in. It was estimated that the family received about half a million dollars in donations.

Two weeks later, another man in practically the same situation killed himself in the same manner at Clementi MRT station.

This time, the media learnt its lesson and did not play up the hard luck story. The family of this second suicide did not received much donations from the public. If any.

The public too, may have also learnt its lesson.